ISLAMABAD – Prime Minister’s special adviser on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz has informed the National Assembly that as many as 1,448 Pakistani nationals are currently imprisoned in Saudi Arabia.
Responding to different questions on Monday, Aziz said that Pakistani missions in Saudi Arabia have been taking various steps to help the detained citizens.
Consulors are meeting the detainees and extended them all possible assistance, he added.
He said emergency travel documents were issued to those detainees, who had completed their sentence and were due to travel back home.
“We have raised the case of those who are about to complete their sentences in order to ensure that they are set free without delay,” he added.
He said translator services were provided on request in the labour court for pleading cases in Arabic language while problems coming into government notice related to the detainees were raised with the relevant authorities.
He said out of 2.6 million Pakistani expatriates, 5500 Pakistanis were currently facing issues relating to residence permit and Iqama renewal in Saudi Arabia.
Discussing the Pak-Iran ties, he said the volume of bilateral trade between Pakistan and Iran would reach $5 billion in coming years.
He said Pak-Iran trade volume was around $1.6 billion annually before international sanctions on Iran, which was reduced to $300 million.
He said during the meeting between Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif and the Iranian President it was agreed to enhance the trade between two countries.
Banking system between Iran and Pakistan had become functional while work on Pakistan-Iran gas pipeline had also started, he added.
The Advisor said Pakistan shared 2600 kilometers long porous border with Afghanistan. Owing to cultural proximity, the cross-border movement was quite frequent as around 40,000 to 50,000 people crossed the border daily, however, most of the movements were regulated, he added.
He said to streamline cross-border movement, Pakistan was implementing border management measures, including setting up gates and installation of wires at the border crossing points.
Implementation (of the border management measures) started on June 1 with setting up of border controls at Torkham where, despite opposition from the Afghan side Pakistan had installed a 37-meter gate, he added.
To another question, he said, “We do not have diplomatic relations with countries, including Israel, Armenia and Taiwan. We have 85 ambassadorial level missions and 32 diplomatic missions at Sub-Mission/ Consulate General/ Consulate level. There are 99 countries which are concurrently accredited to the diplomatic missions of Pakistan.”
He said Pakistan had 119 diplomatic/consular representatives abroad.
He said Pakistan’s missions abroad were playing an effective role in promoting the country’s interests and image worldwide.
The Advisor said recent killings and brutal use of force in the Indian Occupied Jammu and Kashmir was deplorable and condemnable in the strongest possible terms.
He said, “Indian armed forces have shown no reluctance or remorse in using live ammunition and pellet guns on the unarmed civilians with a clear intention of ‘shoot to kill’.”
Resultantly, so far, more than 85 civilians had been killed and around 7000 are injured, many of them in critical condition, he added.
Due to pellet injuries, he said, more than 120 people had become permanently blind and many others developed partial blindness.
He said organs of many people, mostly youth, had to be amputated.
The pellets, that could not be removed from the bodies of the victims, were causing severe lead poisoning, which might prove to be fatal.
These Indian acts of barbarism, he said, were highly despicable and deplorable and a big blot on the face of the whole civilized world and humanity.
He said a team of three eye surgeons from India visited the
IOK and described the situation there as “warlike” saying that they had never seen so many injuries (eye injuries) in their life before.
Strict curfews, he said, had been imposed in the Kashmir Valley since July 8 while mobile, Internet services, and Cable TV remained completely blocked.
He said the Indian occupation forces had not even spared the ambulances and hospitals which had been attacked by tear gas shells.
Indian forces have been assaulting the injured, their attendants, doctors and the paramedic staff, he added.
The advisor said Indian forces have even harassed the volunteers who are providing free food, medicines, clothes and other essential items to the injured and coerced them to stop their work.
Due to prolonged curfews a humanitarian crisis has developed, he said, adding hospitals were running short of essential medicines denying the injured proper treatment.
Doctors and paramedic staff, he said, were finding great difficulties to reach hospitals, while households were running short of food items and essential medicines.
Sartaj Aziz said that the current situation in Indian occupied Jammu and Kashmir is in fact the result of the continued denial by India of the right to self-determination for the people of Jammu and Kashmir as was promised to them by the United Nations Security Council in its numerous resolutions 68 years ago.
The government strongly condemned the killing of the innocent people and blatant human rights violations in IoK and the Prime Minister issued a strongly worded statement expressing “deep shock” at the killings and deploring the “excessive” and “unlawful” use of force against civilians.
Ambassadors of the permanent members of the Security Council were briefed by the Foreign Secretary and all Pakistani missions abroad have been instructed to approach the host governments and highlight the human rights violations in the IoK.
“Our missions have raised the brutal use of force by the Indian forces with the host governments and local NGOs,” he said.
He said the Foreign Secretary briefed the Ambassador of the European Union and OIC Contact Group members on Jammu and Kashmir.
He said that OIC Secretary General visited Pakistan August 19 and expressed OIC’s unequivocal support to the oppressed people of Indian Occupied Jammu and Kashmir and condemned atrocious human rights violations being committed by India in IOK.
He said the Prime Minister also nominated members of the National Assembly for visiting various countries to highlight human rights violation in India held Kashmir.